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really a Ruckus to remember

really a Ruckus to remember
Every year at the end of July, 
we gather with our fellow Pearl-Guide friends in Los Angeles for a weekend of true pearl FUN. 
Hosted by the generous power couple ,
Jeremy and Hisano Shepherd of Pearl Paradise and Little h Jewelry
The group of us gathered in a gorgeous mansion in the Beverly Hills to listen to lectures given by : 
Our dear friend Douglas McLaurin of the Sea of Cortez Pearl farm in Guaymas Mexico
(North America's ONLY salt water pearl farm). 
Douglas is a gifted speaker and a BRILLIANT mind. 
His lectures are always fascinating and FUNNY! 
We love the gorgeous color of Sea of Cortez pearls and use them often in our designs. 
Josh Humbert also gave a lecture on how he raises his gorgeous Tahitian pearls in sustainable and environmentally sound ways at his farm on Ahe in French Polynesia. 
Kamoka pearls are true gems, and we have been honored to work with them in the pearl business for many years now. 
Having made visits to the Kamoka pearl farm, I can attest to their commitment to the environment and also the magic that is Ahe. 
Ruth Johnson was the LUCKY winner of a contest sponsored by Pearl Paradise and won a trip to visit the Atlas Pearl farm on Bali Indonesia!
She showed us a wonderful video of her adventure! 
Renee Newman, the author of multiple books on pearls and gemstones..
namely the Pearl Buying Guide gave a lovely talk on advancements in the pearl world. 
The Pearl Buying Guide is available online and it is a fantastic way to educate yourself on up to date information! 
You may recognize the photo we donated to this cover of the latest edition! 
We're delighted it was chosen! 
Blaire Beavers, the moderator of Pearl-Guide.com was honored with a lovely necklace this year, and also gave a talk on the wild adventures of Octavia, the mascot of Pearl-Guide. 
Octavia has spent time at pearl farms and with fellow forum members all over the world. 
This year our gathering was in honor of our dear friend Caitlin Williams, a long time moderator of the forum and a brilliant and loving woman... who is and will be dearly missed.
It was a wonderful blessing to have her daughter, son-in-law and grandson in attendance to carry on her legacy in pearls. 
 
This year was our biggest group yet! 
Smiles were plenty, the food was phenomenal.. and the view was breathtaking. 
Everyone wore their best pearls and traded stories into the wee hours. 
This event is such a joy for me. 
Thank you Jeremy and Hisano and the whole team at Pearl Paradise for graciously keeping this pearl rolling for all these years! 
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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part III

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part III
Here are some photos of the pearls we bought from our recent trip to the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Guaymas Mexico.
Introducing the “NATIONAL” strand of Sea of Cortez pearls:
This necklace is made of 47 natural color near round (soft baroque) Sea of Cortez pearls ranging in size from 9.1-11.1mm. The strand was assembled by Manuel Nava using what he calls “national grade” pearls (he is a huge football (soccer) fan. The pearls in this strand were collected from harvest spanning the last 7 YEARS! Manuel finished the necklace just a couple of weeks before we arrived and it was love at first sight for me. I was so floored by the mix of colors. It is such an amazing representation of the natural colors of Sea of Cortez pearls. The first photo was taken in our studio and the next photo was taken in Mexico (with my phone!) As you can see the colors of these pearls change dramatically in different lighting conditions. The surfaces of the pearls in this strand are very clean, there are small dimples in the surfaces of a few of the pearls… but it is the range of colors that makes this strand so special.. that and the fact that having personally participated in the harvest process, I can attest that a strand of this quality is EXTREMELY RARE. The finished length is 20.5″ long and currently finished with a 14K yellow gold clasp (which can be easily changed if you desire a different style or different color thread). It is a joy to be able to introduce this strand. 

Learn more about a  fascinating experiment using water to filter light and inspect pearl colors!

conducted by none other than the farmers of Sea of Cortez pearls themselves!

We also loaded up on the infamous “mini mabe” pearls that are hand cut at the Sea of Cortez pearl farm, using their trademark Pteria sterna Rainbow Lipped Oyster.

If you have a design in mind for one or some of these, feel free to email us!

 

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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part II

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part II
The farmers of Sea of Cortez pearls met while they were studying Marine Biology here in Guaymas. These three brilliant men: Douglas McLaurin, Enrique Arizmendi and Manuel Nava are all very different personalities but share a love of science, history and especially the ocean.
They are men of facts.

In 1991, long before a single oyster was nucleated here, the farmers of Cortez pearls spent a huge amount of time gathering what was left of the native Pteria sterna “rainbow lipped” oysters and fostering a repopulation following their near extinction.

The earliest chronicles of boat captains and Jesuit priests reported leagues upon leagues of pearl beds in the Sea of Cortez.  These accounts were recorded after the arrival of the Spaniards following the conquest of Mexico City in 1523. Over-fishing by the Spaniards and the freshly created nation of Mexico led to dramatic losses.

The creation of the Hoover dam greatly effected the Sea of Cortez and led to near extinction of many species. For thousands of years the Colorado River had supplied fresh water to the Gulf of California. Upon the completion of the dam, that fresh water dried up and changed the salinity balance of the entire gulf, killing some species of fish and robbing all others of oxygen rich waters.

Click here for an article by Douglas McLaurin to read more about these fascinating historical events and learn about the great Japanese Conspiracy in the Sea of Cortez!


Pearls oysters/mollusks are the “canaries” of their environs. They cannot survive in polluted water.
Small scale pearl farms such as the Sea of Cortez pearl farm, Kamoka and the fresh water pearls grown in Lake Kasumi ga Ura Japan are actually GREAT for the environment!

In the case of Sea of Cortez pearls the farmers created a generous no-fishing zone around their farm and all species have flourished there, which in turn has brought greater health to the entire bay… (By giving shelter to fish, the populations have increased, which in turn makes the fishermen happier, which in turn makes a brighter community of people)

As I sit here looking out over Bacochibampo Bay I can easily see how bountiful this place must have been hundreds of years ago. The contrast of the quartz  studded desert and the clear blue sea is the making of true paradise. Sonoran hospitality, warm smiles everywhere you look, and a calm easy pace of living has made this one of my new favorite places on earth.

Morning light on the fountain.

Native cacti in bloom.

A beautiful stained glass window depicting Cortez in our hotel.

A spur from a Spanish solider, part of Manuel’s collection.

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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part I

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part I
After multiple flights and bus rides, we arrived in Guaymas, Mexico …
just as a tropical storm was winding down. The clouds were heavy and the gusts of wind warm and refreshing. Our hotel was built in the 1800’s and the architecture is gorgeous. Generous arches, hand carved wooden details and expansive plazas decorate the shoreline looking out over Bacochibampo Bay.
We finished the evening with Douglas McLaurin and his lovely wife Elisabeth eating ice cream made from local fruits, and wandering through down town. Douglas is an endless source of historic and scientific facts. I learned that Guaymas once boasted many foreign embassies and was a pivotal port for goods destined for the U.S.
Today the European architecture is what remains of that bustling time. Guaymas is also the home town of three Mexican presidents.
This morning I took my coffee in the shade of a giant cactus. Douglas picked me up for smoked marlin fish tacos for breakfast before heading to the farm.
The Sea of Cortez pearl farm consists of a gorgeous lofty white gift shop and offices.
The farmers and their staff have created a fantastic display of tools, shells and equipment to truly educate their guests in all the steps it takes to raise these very rare pearls. The jewelry store is lovely, and is complimented by two lovely ladies with warm smiles: Rocio Mendoza and Carolina Bazua. It boasts the work of many talented designers and artisans. The farm is really a destination in Guaymas and guided tours are given daily.
I’ve never seen a pearl shop with a better view!
The Sea of Cortez pearl farm crew work seamlessly.
Wise eyed men sing sweetly while bringing baskets of oysters in from the warm waters.
The oysters are opened and split in half.
Then comes the fun part! We SQUISH through the guts to find each and every pearl!
I was thankful for the full length aprons and matching boots!
Pearl harvesting is a messy business and these guys do it in style!
Enrique Arizmendi and Manuel Nava painstakingly record the pearl count and quality harvested from each basket.
After the pearls are harvested the shells and meat are separated.
The shells are cleaned and sorted. The best quality to be used as inlay, the others allowed to dry naturally. The meat is cleaned and cut to be sold as sea food.

The oysters used at the Sea of Cortez pearl farm are Pteria sterna .. Otherwise known as the “rainbow lipped shell”
It’s really no wonder!
Daniel Duarte, a very pleasant man, is in charge of web sales and photography and I must say I envy his job!

After harvesting was over we pored over the mabe pearl stock and matched pairs. Then we went for lunch in San Carlos.
We sat next to the harbor and learned that there is much truth in the description of it being a “drinking village with a fishing problem”

It was a fantastic first day and we’re looking forward to day two!
Being at a harvest is “what it’s all about”… The hokey pokey for a pearl dealer!!

 

 

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Japan Kasumi Pearl Harvest 2015

Japan Kasumi Pearl Harvest 2015
Here are some photos from our trip to Japan this last February/March 2015
 As always, our first day was spent with the gracious and noble farmers of Japan Kasumi pearls.
It was still quite chilly that day.. but we toasted Yoneguchisan for his birthday and the quiet of the farm was a relaxing place to pick through these very special pearls.
Japan Kasumi pearls are grown ONLY in Lake Kasumi ga Ura ,  JAPAN, and these are two of the THREE farmers who still produce these very rare pearls.
Japan Kasumi pearls are NEVER dyed or treated.  After harvest they are rubbed with salt to clean them and washed only in fresh water.
Kasumi ga Ura translates to “the body of water beyond the mist”.  It is their special colors and the time honored way they are grown that makes Japan Kasumi pearls so  sought after.
This is a closeup of the shell used to grow Japan Kasumi pearls.
Yanasesan and Fuji could easily discuss pearls for a month straight.. one day with these farmers is never enough.
These are an invasive species that gives much trouble to the farmers and their precious mollusks.
Here Yanasesan is showing Fuji where he raises the mollusks that will later be nucleated with shell beads which will eventually become Japan Kasumi pearls.

 Thank you Japan.. More please!

Stay tuned as we continue to sort, drill and set these very special pearls.

Here are a couple of  photos of what we’ve put together so far from our new stock of Japan Kasumi pearls.

 This is the top strand from this years harvest the pearls measure 10-14mm.

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RUCKUS 2014 - Panel Discussion and Interview with Sarah Canizzaro

 

 

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